Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM
A couple of weeks ago, sports fans all over the country tuned in for one of the greatest nights of November college basketball in TV history. Four of the top five teams in the country squared off when Michigan State faced Kentucky, and Kansas took on Duke. What’s happened to those teams since? You probably heard about a couple of near upsets. Were “the big 4” overrated by the media?
The short answer is “probably not,” because all four teams have generally been getting the money since that fantastic night of hoops action. That may not have registered with many casual gamblers because a few of them did survive upset scares in the days following the event.
*Michigan State was life and death as a huge home favorite against Columbia. How could you beat Kentucky then almost lose to an Ivy League team? That result made both Michigan State and Kentucky look worse.
*Duke barely survived as a huge home favorite against Vermont this past weekend. Duke never loses home non-conference games, particularly to relative non-entities. They were on upset watch all through the second half…and may have been helped by some home cooking in the final minutes.
*Kentucky found itself in a struggling struggle with Cleveland State Monday Night in Lexington. They were on upset watch until the final minutes of the game. Many in the markets were smirking that some media types had suggested before the season started that Kentucky might go undefeated. They were already looking at a second loss before Thanksgiving!
If you ONLY look at those results, it’s easy to get the idea that all of the powers might have been overrated to start the season. That’s why it’s important to monitor every result. Anything can happen on any given night…particularly this year with the impact of new officiating dynamics. But, believe it or not, the four powers from the TV extravaganza are a composite 8-4-1 against the Vegas spread since then, even counting for those three near-stunners!
*You’ll recall that Michigan State beat Kentucky 78-74 as a 4-point favorite in game one of the TV doubleheader.
MSU SINCE BEATING KENTUCKY (2-1-1 ATS)
Michigan State (-23) beat Columbia 62-53 (non-cover)
Michigan State (-23) beat Portland 82-67
Michigan State (-15) beat Virginia Tech 96-77
Michigan State (-11) beat Oklahoma 87-76 (push)
The Spartans almost laid a massive egg against Columbia. They’ve been pretty solid vs. everyone else. This is still a very strong team that is the logical favorite to win the Big 10.
KENTUCKY SINCE LOSING TO MSU (2-1 ATS)
Kentucky (-21) beat Robert Morris 87-49
Kentucky (-28) beat Texas Arlington 105-76
Kentucky (-24) beat Cleveland State 68-61
The Wildcats got revenge against Robert Morris for that NIT debacle last season. They also crushed Texas Arlington before losing their focus against Cleveland State. The Wildcats are still capable of having off nights. But, the freshman superstars are still likely to be better in March than they are right now…and they’re already pretty darned good.
*In the nightcap, Kansas beat Duke 94-83 as a five-point underdog. That was sure a statement win for the Jayhawks. They’ve covered every game since as well…
KANSAS SINCE BEATING DUKE (2-0 ATS)
Kansas (-16) beat Iona 86-66
Kansas (-18) beat Towson 88-58
How can the team with “the next LeBron James” in uniform be “underrated” by oddsmakers? Hard to believe. But, Kansas has scored double digit covers in all three of their board games so far. Could they be 10 points better than oddsmakers originally guessed?!
DUKE SINCE LOSING TO KENTUCKY (2-2 ATS)
Duke (-31) beat Florida Atlantic 97-64
Duke (-30) beat NC Asheville 91-55
Duke (-24) beat East Carolina 83-74
Duke (-26) beat Vermont 91-90
The Blue Devils disappointed against East Carolina, and then were almost humiliated as monster favorites over Vermont. As we’ve documented in past seasons, rebounding and internal defense have been issues for this program. Supposedly they had upgraded their athleticism this time around. That didn’t seem to be the case in the final moments vs. Vermont.
Even though football gets a lot of the headlines during Thanksgiving Week, it’s important to remember that great college basketball opportunities are on the board every day thanks to a busy tournament schedule. You can purchase the top college and pro basketball selections every day from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK right here at the website with your credit card. If you’d like to put together a combination packages with football, talk to the NETWORK representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
It’s back to football in the NOTEBOOK tomorrow. He’s this week’s schedule of big game football previews...
Thanksgiving: Pittsburgh at Baltimore on NBC
Friday: early look at Alabama/Auburn in Saturday’s Iron Bowl on CBS
Saturday: Texas A&M/Missouri in a huge game for the Tigers on ABC
Sunday: NY Giants at Washington on NBC
Monday: New Orleans at Seattle in a possible NFC Championship Preview on ESPN
Can you smell the winners? THE FEAST IS READY TO BEGIN with JIM HURLEY’S ANNUAL TURKEY SHOOT!